Environment Articles - Can You REALLY Slash Your Power Bill Using Solar Energy?

by Jakob Jelling - Date: 2009-11-30 - Word Count: 446 Share This!

Everybody's talking about solar energy. With all the buzz, you'd think we just discovered the sun. Of course, the sun has been around for a few billion years and, surprisingly, so has solar energy. We just haven't done much with it until lately.

Generating electricity from the sun isn't terribly complicated. In fact, it doesn't require a huge financial investment or any special knowledge that can't be picked up by reading the right material.

How Solar Energy Saves YOU Money If your home is connected to the public power grid, you pay your electric utility company for the amount of power you use each month.

Actually, if you look at your bill, you'll probably see that in addition to paying for electricity, you're also paying fuel surcharges and any number of local, county, state or federal taxes. Add that all up and electricity can take quite a bite out of your monthly budget.

The U.S. Department of Energy publishes annual average electricity costs by state. These costs are displayed as a number of cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). The actual definition of a kilowatt hour isn't important, but how many kilowatt hours you consume each month is.

Here are some typical usage examples for electrical appliances and devices you probably have in your home:

- A 1000 watt space heater uses 1 kWh hour for every hour you run it - A 60 watt light bulb uses 0.06 kWh - A 12000 BTU AC unit uses 300 kWh - A central AC unit uses 900 kWh - A dishwasher uses 30 kWh

It's easy to see that every kWh you take off the grid and replace with solar energy saves you real money.

Want To Get Paid For Generating Solar Power? Not only can you slash, or even eliminate your power bill by converting to solar energy but, depending upon where you live, your local utility company may actually be required to purchase the excess energy your solar system generates above your actual monthly consumption!

So, How Do You Get Started Slashing Your Electric Bill? Check your monthly electric bill and see how many kWh you are billed for. Then use this formula to identify the actual kWh usage of everything you plug in:

kWh = watts/1000

For example, a PC and monitor consumes 365 watts so 365/1000 = .0365 kWh.

If you use your PC for 75 hours per month, it consumes 27.4 kWh (.0365*75). Multiply that by your kWh cost, and that's what you pay to use your computer (before surcharges and taxes).

Once you know what you pay for each electrical device, you can start working on calculating how many kWh you want to have your solar system generate.

Related Tags: solar power, solar energy, solar panels

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